3 days at Roland Garros – part two

Friday, May 26. Qualifying day 5

About 40 minutes to queue, pass the security checks and enter the stadium today. I catch a glimpse of a few matches: Richèl Hogenkamp is outplaying Heather Watson on court 6, Sara Errani sent Nicole Gibbs home on court 14, while Copil and Gojowczyk are battling on on court 17. I go back to court Lenglen to watch Petra Kvitova at practice. Nice to see you again Petra! She took everyone by surprise by announcing her return to the competition, but she's there, smiling and chatting, and visibly enjoying to be back!

Petra Kvitova
Petra Kvitova
Petra Kvitova
Petra Kvitova
Petra Kvitova

Petra leaves the court, Thomaz Bellucci and Adrian Mannarino start hitting. Stands empty.

It's now time to grab some food and watch what's going on on the other courts.

Pablo Carreno Busta

Pablo Carreno Busta and Feliciano Lopez are practicing on court 15:

Pablo Carreno Busta

Feliciano Lopez

Feliciano Lopez

Another Spaniard is training next court: Nicolas Almagro.

Back to court Lenglen to watch last year's finalist and current world number one Andy Murray. He had a two-hour practice with one of the in-form players, Pablo Cuevas. First, a warm-up and then a training match. I didn't keep the score but all I can say is that Murray struggled: his serve and footwork were so-so, as often he overused dropshots, and was dominated by Cuevas in the rallies.

Pablo Cuevas
Pablo Cuevas
Andy Murray
Andy Murray
Andy Murray
Andy Murray
Ivan Lendl

At the end of the practice, a girl asks me: "Excuse me, who is that French player?" Me: "no French player: Cuevas and Murray". The girl to her friend: "See, I told you so, it's because of the shirt!" Murray has a French flag on his shirt, and even he seems surprised:

Ivan Lendl and Andy Murray

It's now Monfils' turn to enter the court. Gaël could cause an upset or two, but it's often all or nothing for the crowd favourite, whose best result here is a semifinal in 2008.

Gaël Monfils

Gaël Monfils

Gaël Monfils

Gaël Monfils

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